TUCSON, Ariz. - The Tucson police chief on Wednesday offered his resignation after the death of a 27-year-old man who died while handcuffed and placed face-down, resulting in the resignation of three officers the chief said had violated department policy.
Chief Chris Magnus offered his resignation during a news conference a day after the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez on April 21 became public. The city council and city manager have to approve resignation.
The medical examiner’s office didn’t determine a manner of death but said Ingram-Lopez had died of sudden cardiac arrest while intoxicated by cocaine and physically restrained.
Ingram-Lopez was face-down on the ground with a blanket over his head when he stopped breathing. Police were at his home after his grandmother called them because he was acting erratically.
Mayor Regina Romero said she was surprised by Magnus’ resignation offer and needed to think about it, adding that he has been “an honest and great” police chief.
The case comes as Americans around the country protest police brutality. Ingram-Lopez was Hispanic.
Magnus, who was appointed chief in January 2016, said three of the officers who responded “committed multiple policy violations and failed to handle the incident consistent with their training.” The three officers resigned but would have been fired anyway, Magnus said.
The criminal investigation into Ingram-Lopez’s death was sent to the county attorney’s office, which has yet to determine whether it will file criminal charges against the officers.
A video shown to the press on Wednesday shows Ingram-Lopez running around a dark garage hysterically before officers handcuff him. The video quality is low due to poor lighting, but Ingram-Lopez can be heard thrashing, asking for water numerous times and whimpering as he lays face-down on the ground.
Eventually, an officer puts what appears to be a yellow plastic blanket over his entire body, and adds another blanket soon after.
Ingram-Lopez is heard crying over and over as he’s on the ground and covered. After a few minutes, he stops making noise or moving.
Officers administered chest compressions before emergency medical personnel declared him dead on scene.